Saturday, 13 November 2010

Been missing for a while ...............

 Funny how life takes you unawares and then a bit further down the line you realise that it was all part of the "big plan".   Just days after my last blog post I left my job.  I had been stressed out for quite a while and let's be honest I really didn't enjoy my job in the slightest.  It just took one comment from a "colleague" (someone who ought to know better but probably never will) and I realised that I really did not need or want to be there, put my jacket on and walked out.  I don't actually remember much of the journey home but the first thing I did when I got home was phone the doctor to make an appointment for the following day.  The next thing I did was phone Abi (and Mouse cos she was staying at Abi's for the week) and tell them what I had done.  Thank goodness for good friends!  I was basically told to "get myself down there" asap.  The doctor confirmed what I guess I already knew - severe depression and work-related stress and I was told not to even think about work for the next few weeks or months even.  I flew down to Birmingham on the morning of 26th March to meet up with Abi and Mouse who were at the NEC for the stitching show.  I wandered around in a daze that day not really seeing much of anything and for the first time ever I came away from a show without spending a single penny!  We then drove back to the Forest of Dean where I stayed with Abi and her family (and Mouse) until the Sunday when Mouse and I drove back up to her home in Yorkshire.   I am now an official member of the Mouse clan!  We got loads of stitching done, tidied out Mouse's stitching den and drank vast quantities of tea - and also managed to fit in a visit to Knaresborough which is only an hour's drive from Barnsley. 

On Good Friday Mouse and Stew took me through to Manchester to Karen's and I stayed there till Easter Monday - and the three of us had a right good giggle whilst sorting out the beads for Karen's newest project.  In fact its a wonder we didn't drop any of them given the amount of wine consumed lol! 

I also had a few days up at my old schoolfriend's in Perth.  Lyn and I have known each other since we were 5 or 6 years old and sat together in primary school.  We spent a day in Dunkeld having lunch and wandering around the cathedral on a lovely spring day.

If it hadn't been for my lovely friends I never would have got through that first 10 days.  They kept me thinking positively and have continued to lend their support over the last few months. 

I had a message completely out of the blue at the end of June that one of the former partners from my former employers was trying to get in touch with me.  I managed to find her number and gave her a call and within 2 weeks we had found an office and set up in business.  Liz is the Craigmyle and I am "& Co" - apparently I am key personnel (the fact I am the only personnel is absolutely nothing to do with it!)

Apart from the long hours and unbelievable travelling time (it can take me anything between an hour and three hours depending on the weather) I am loving every minute of it.  Liz and I make a good team; we work well together and have a good work ethic even when the days are long and there is the occasional working from home when needed.  I have a more hands on approach to this job, attending client meetings etc. and I feel that I am learning all the time.  Hopefully we will go from strength to strength although a rest over Christmas will be most welcome!

There have been changes within Friendly Stitchers too.  Abi stepped down as co-owner and moderator in March and my new co-owner is Mouse and together with Karen, Gillie and Val we are going from strength to strength.  Its good to have reliable friends and the fact that we discuss everything on a daily basis helps make things go a lot smoother.  We have got Harrogate coming up in 2 weeks time when we have things to reveal to those attending - and having the chance to get together with other members of the group is always fun.  There is going to be a lot of new things coming up on the group so watch this space!

Unfortunately stitching has taken a back seat and I seriously lost my mojo for a while.  I am slowly getting back into things but it is a long slow process and the long working hours means that I am missing deadlines all over the place.  I am seriously behind with the bookmark exchange so many apologies to Margery and I promise it will be getting to you just as soon as possible.   The last piece I actually finished was for the quilt for DJ who is now almost at the end of her treatment for breast cancer.  Several of us got together and stitched squares in the form of biscornu which was beautifully put together by Mouse and delivered in person by Gillie.  Thanks to everyone who took part in this worthy cause.  Pop over to DJ and Mouse's blogs to see the finished article.

I did manage to finish the last part of my round robin group's latest robin.  I had been working on Myleen's piece when I was at Mouse and Karen's around Easter and managed to finish and get it away to Mylene.  It was a nice stitch and she has now finished the design and made it into a cushion which looks absolutely lovely.

Unfortunately, we lost a valued member of our Friendly Stitchers.  Alison Joy Clarke lost her battle with brittle asthma just a couple of days before her 38th birthday.  She had been ill for a long time but through it all she showed great courage and will be dearly missed by all of us.  We are in the process of stitching Christmas ornaments which will be sent to her husband Kelvin to present to the ward on which Alison Joy spent so much time in the last few years.

I did manage to finish a May Day exchange and Joanna and I sent to each other.  I got an absolutely gorgeous needleroll and some lovely hand dyed threads from Joanna together with a beautifully stitched card - all with a "sheep" theme.  I made Joanna a little sewing tin with a design from Victoria Sampler (adapted slightly) and made up from an Altoids tin - who knew those tins could be so useful!  I also stitched an orchid card for Joanna - its an alphabet that was in WOCS years ago and it is a lovely design. 

Joanna's DS had a hand in deciding on the theme and she also hand dyed the fabric for the needleroll - clever girl!  I had the pleasure of meeting Joanna for the first time when she and her family had a break in Southerness in August.  We met up in Ayr and had a lovely lunch at Maureen's together with a peek at each other's stitching achievements.  Joanna is going to Harrogate to this year, and Maureen and I are driving down for the first time - that will be an adventure so look out for news of that in my next post!

I also made an orchid card for Lynda when she was our Calendar Girl .. I have a feeling this alphabet is going to get a lot of use!

Its been absolutely ages since I stitched any cards at all so it was quite theraputic to do something which was a quick stitch and so effective.  One of these days I must have a trawl through my magazines and sort out some more little alphabets for future use.

Oh and I was Calendar Girl in June and received a whole load of lovely fabrics and threads and hand made cards too - -thank you to the lovely girls in my group for spoiling me as always!

The only other finish of note was my Snow in a Row which was an absolute joy to stitch and I am so thrilled with the end result. All I need to do now is frame it!

I spent a few days over Hallowe'en at Mouse's and not only had a blast at her daughter Joanna's Hallowe'en party but had a nice night at Lord of the Dance in Sheffield.  Not a big fan of Michael Flatley but boy can that man dance!  Karen joined us for the party and we had such a great time - many thanks to Mouse and family for their hospitality and for a lovely weekend.

The weekend before Hallowe'en was my 50th birthday.  Liz threw a surprise party for me at the office - and believe me it was a BIG surprise!  My lovely friends and fellow mods on Friendly Stitchers surprised me with a box of 50 individually wrapped gifts ranging from stitching supplies - thread, fabric and charts to gardening equipment - a hand stitched gardening apron, seeds and bulbs and a lovely pair of gardening gloves and some mini gardening tools together with some other little gifts including a tote bag, sweets and some mini measuring spoons.  Thanks to Mouse, Karen, Gillie and Val for making my birthday so special!  Lyn came down from Perth on the day of my birthday and we went out for dinner at a local restaurant and then spent the evening have a jolly good catch up.  And the celebrations continue as I am meeting friends next weekend for lunch.

During the summer months I joined a gardening club and I now spent most of my weekends up there looking after my plants.  I am looking forward to growing my own fruit and veg next year as well as expanding my collection of orchids and pelargoniums.  I have also been nominated as Minute Secretary for the club which I am thoroughly enjoying.  Becoming a member of the club was a turning point for me and not only have I made firm friends but I have gone from never being out to never being in! 

And that, I think is that!  Its has been an up and down 6 months but I have a much more positive outlook to life and am enjoying myself for the first time in a very very long time.  Hopefully I will have more stitching to report on next time and look out for more Friendly Stitchers news!

Thanks for reading.

Love and hugs,

Ally xxxxx


Gillie said...

Very nicely put together post - and loved catching up with your doings! Don't leave it so long next time, Miss! Written in Pittsburgh where the weather is over 70 degrees in mid November. The WT has started home and I am headed to Idaho tomorrow!

Mouse said...

Phew defo needed a cuppa after that you got that kettle on ???? Glad to have been of service ;) and as Gillie says don't leave as long next time ... love mouse xxxx

Val said...

Great post Ally - and reminds me I haven't updated for some months :(
Looking forweard to our meet up with Friendly Stitchers members at Harrogate x

Sunshine said...

Congrats on the changing of jobs. Sounds like you're much happier now. Your finishes are lovely.

scotstwinmum said...


Loved your finishes


Charlene ♥ SC said...

Wow - that roller coaster was hectic! So happy that you took the self-advice and got the heck out of that old workplace. There's something to that saying, closing one door reveals another! It sounds like good friends stood with you, and you're out the other side. Congrats on the new company! Wishing you much success and a Happy Christmas!

MysteryKnitter said...

I am sad for the loss you had to go through. It's not easy to lose a dear friend. said...